Bayer 04 claimed a 3-2 win away at RB Leipzig on Matchday 18 in the Bundesliga after twice coming from behind on Saturday.
The hosts dominated in the early stages and took the lead through Xavi Simons inside eight minutes. Leverkusen improved after the break and immediately equalised through Nathan Tella. Lois Openda restored Leipzig’s advantage in the 56th minute before Jonathan Tah (64’) and Piero Hincapie (90’+2) turned around a thrilling encounter.
Bayer 04 coach Xabi Alonso made two changes to his team from last week’s 1-0 victory in Augsburg, restoring Tah and Florian Wirtz to the side in place of Robert Andrich and Adam Hlozek. Both teams looked to press from the off in freezing temperatures at the Red Bull Arena, but it was the home side who saw more of the ball. Benjamin Sesko produced the first alarm bells of the evening, but Tah managed to block his route to goal inside the box.
Openda was then denied by Lukas Hradecky shortly after. However, with eight minutes on the clock, Leipzig got down the left through Sesko, who pulled back for Xaver Schlager. His clipped ball across the box picked out Xavi, who took it down and then spun to pick out the near bottom corner.
Marco Rose’s team continued to apply the pressure once again, with Sesko narrowly missing a cross and then Mohamed Simakan forcing Hradecky into action from distance. The Werkself captain was again on hand to cut out a counter before Openda could reach it.
Alonso’s league leaders kept going and ultimately got their reward when another corner – this time from Grimaldo on the right – was turned in by Hincapie from close range to finally put Bayer 04 in front in the game with only moments remaining. They held on to retain their status as Europe’s only unbeaten club this season and extend their undefeated start to 2023-24 to 27 matches in all competitions, opening up a seven-point lead over Bayern Munich, who have two games in hand.